There was a reason behind the fact that Norma Shearer turned up in one of her costumes from her movie “Marie Antoinette" at a costume party held by autocratic media mogule William Randolph Hearst in 1938.
Beforehand, Hearst had gotten it into his mind that his mistress, Marion Davies, should play Elizabeth Barrett in “The Barretts of Wimpole Street” (1934), as well as “Marie Antoinette”. Davies herself was a very talented comedienne, but she was not quite up the aisle of drama. She was aware of that and did not even want those two roles, but her elderly lover could not face that and did not want to accept it either. He was determined to make her a dramatic star. She followed his wishes for his sake. Marion was a kind and generous woman and just wanted to please “Poopsie” who kept on getting the most dramatic roles for her. It got to a point where even Louie B. Mayer was tired of these accommodations to Hearst. Norma took matters into her own hands and went to Davies to talk to her. They were both very genuine in this heart-to-heart talk and Davies agreed with Norma about the whole issue and promised to talk to Hearst, to get those ideas about Barretts and Marie Antoinette out of his head. She managed to do that. But he took offence and for a while Norma Shearer was conspicuously missing from the pages of his papers.
But Shearer got her kind of sweet revenge of sort. At this very costume party. thrown by Marion Davies, she showed up in an elaborate gown from Marie Antoinette that forced all kinds of adjustments to the decor, so wide and extensive were the folds and flounces. “Norma drove Hearst crazy that night," George Cukor said [laughing]. "He was having trouble with the French at that time over politics, trade, and other matters; Willie could not only dream up artificial wars (such as the 1898 conflict with Spain) via his papers, he could generate the most damnably pointless petty quarrels, and anyway his fuss was with France at the moment. And here´s Norma in the costume of a French queen forcing the Hearst minions to take the hinges off doors and movie tables around to accommodative her costume! And what did Marion think of it? She thought it was a riot."